SUNY New Paltz’s Alpha Psi Ecdysia dazzled their audience in Studley Theatre on March 8 and 9 in their performance “Rack to the Future: A Time Travel Burlesque Show.”
Alpha Psi Ecdysia, an undergraduate burlesque troupe founded by Lucinda Sans back in 2008, is S.A. approved and focuses on everyone’s comfortability with sexuality, as well as a focus on anonymity through stage names for all performers.
Themes for shows, such as “Rack to the Future,” are usually decided at the end of the previous semester by the entire group as a whole. Every member is able to pitch an idea, then the troupe votes anonymously on their top three favorites, and again on which of the three should be chosen.
To further their beliefs in the enhancement of individuality and comfortability in one’s own body, performer Vesper Monroe explains that “we all have a say, we all get to play around with what we interpret the theme to be, and we all get to explore our own way of portraying the theme.”
This troupe, on the other hand, proves their commitment to the importance of body positivity time and time again.
According to the Eating Disorder Coalition, at least 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime, and these disorders are the third most common chronic illness among females in their adolescent years.
Monroe believes this student burlesque troupe has helped with her own body image issues.
“I grew up with an eating disorder and actually have awful body dysmorphia, but I use my persona to gain confidence and move past those insecurities,” Monroe said. “There are times that I want to skip meetings, or not do acts because I don’t like the way I look, but the support that the other members give me helps me deal with those bad feelings.”
This burlesque troupe, as described by Monroe, is a family. As a family would, the troupe picks each other up and hopes to see everyone thrive. While thriving, each member tells a story through their acts, hoping to send a message to the audience.
“With my persona, I like to do acts that make social statements on the treatment of women within society,” Monroe said. “I use them to inform people on the pressures of society and the discrimination that occurs, and this troupe has given me an outlet for that.”
Understandably, students who may be interested in joining the troupe can be nervous or uncomfortable. Monroe believes, however, stepping out of your comfort zone and joining can be the best decision you could ever make.
“I think everyone deserves a space to explore who they are and who they want to be,” Monroe said.
A.P.E. is open to all undergraduate students. They meet every Thursday and Saturday to practice performances, develop their personas and to learn burlesque techniques. These techniques include, according to their mission as a troupe, “how to sexually entice the audience by using only their body.”